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Episcopal church: Parish becomes Christ the King

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

New signs will go up on the Episcopal Church on Highway 17 in Pawleys Island this summer: Christ the King, Waccamaw.

The church was formerly All Saints Waccamaw, but a settlement in a long-running lawsuit earlier this year led the Episcopal parish to give up the name.

“All Saints is such a dear name to many, a great name with meaning to a lot of people,” said Rick Bruce, senior warden of the Episcopal church vestry. “We wanted a name that would be meaningful in a different way.”

A majority of the parish voted in 2004 to leave the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and join the Anglican Mission to the Americas. The parish was reorganized by the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, and the new parish brought suit to reclaim the church property.

All Saints dates to the 18th century, when 50 acres on Kings River Road were given for construction of a church.

A Circuit Court judge upheld the claim, but was reversed by the state Supreme Court. The parish appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but withdrew its petition after reaching agreement with the Anglican Mission vestry.

Authority to rename the church belongs to the Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, bishop of South Carolina. He met with the Episcopal vestry last week.

“We spent a couple of hours talking about what was special, what was meaningful,” Bruce said.

Christ the King emerged from that discussion.

Lawrence informed the rector, the Very Rev. Ed Kellaher, Saturday night, and he preached about the change at Sunday’s service.

“It was very well received by our folks,” Bruce said. “We’re all very excited about it.”

The vestry has not yet met to discuss the time of the change. The parish will need to form a new corporation, and will rely on Kellaher for that, since he is also an attorney, Bruce said.

He expects the change to be formally celebrated this summer.

“You have to have a vision to move forward,” Bruce said. “Both churches have challenges and huge opportunities.”

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